Sticking Around

It’s easy to find hundreds of people to are willing to click a couple a buttons to “show support” for a certain issue.
It’s incredibly rare to find someone who is willing to stick around.

This weekend, thanks to Love146, I’ve been able to meet many striking individuals who are willing to do that– to stick around.

Glenn Miles, the head of Asia Preventions, has been living in Cambodia since the late 80’s. He’s committed to the protection of children, and to finding a solution to the problem of child sex trafficking. He doesn’t want to just put a band-aid on the problem, but dig deeper and work towards true healing. In his brief presentation of his work in Asia, he mentioned that one of his big roles is to ask and answer the difficult questions. Especially in dealing with a dark issue like child sex trafficking, many are too afraid to go beyond the basic questions; none of us are all too eager to expose ourselves to stories of pain, heartbreak, shocking truths. It’s amazing to meet someone who is willing to struggle with difficult questions, to take the time to actually understand different perspectives, and to stick around long enough to turn that tangled mess into a collaborative solution.

During Glenn’s 50th birthday party, I got to wander around and listen to people talk about what they know and love. One of these conversations was with Jay, Stephanie’s husband. He works with YWAM, focusing on outreach into Native American communities. We got into a conversation about short term missions, and what actual benefits and, perhaps more commonly, harm comes from them. When a small team of 10 are just rush through a community, what change do they actually create? Sure, maybe the trash is cleaned out of the back yard, but have the people in that community actually seen a representation of His love?

Often, it seems as though short term missions are more beneficial to the missionaries than the people at the “mission site.” I must admit, I have loved my two short trips to Cambodia. I remember those two summers as times of spiritual growth and a time when I get a tiny taste of what it’s like to be outside my comfort zone. When I think about the way Kakada, Srey Mai, and all those other wonderful, adorable children were crying as I left however, I question the benefits of my trip. I had a great time, but what did I put those kids through? Okay, maybe I gave them a week of fun games and worship songs, but I also gave them one more reason to cry, one more reason to say goodbye, and maybe– although I sure hope not– one more reason to think that no one loves them enough to actually stick around.

Jesus asked his disciples to “love as he loved.” I’m beginning to realize that this means to love even when it’s difficult. To love even if it means we get hurt. More than anything, what stands out to me in the story of Jesus and His travels is that He loved even when it didn’t make sense to love. He was willing to love even when it was probably not “appropriate” for the situation.

It’s the first day of my fourth week as an intern at Love146. It’s definitely been a process of learning even when I don’t want to go any further. I’m delving deeper and deeper into the current state of child sex trafficking, the broader issues of trafficking and poverty, the creative process, but I know I have so much further to go. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who have made the commitment to go that distance, and are continuously, courageously, going.

 

– Edit –
Here it is posted on the Love146 Blog: http://love146.org/blog/sticking-around

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